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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 50955 Find in a Library
Title: VICTIM COMPENSATION IN AUSTRALIA - THE VICTORIAN EXPERIENCE
Journal: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY AND PENOLOGY  Volume:6  Issue:3  Dated:(AUGUST 1978)  Pages:203-219
Author(s): P SALLMANN
Corporate Author: Academic Press Ltd
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Academic Press Ltd
London Nw1,, England
Institute for Scientific Information
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Sale Source: Institute for Scientific Information
University City Science Ctr
3501 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THE NATURE AND SCOPE OF LEGISLATION REGARDING CRIME COMPENSATION IN VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, IS EXAMINED. A BRIEF ACCOUNT IS GIVEN OF THE OPERATION OF THE CRIMES COMPENSATION TRIBUNAL IN ITS FIRST 4 YEARS OF EXISTENCE.
Abstract: IN AUSTRALIA, THE STATE OF VICTORIA'S COMPENSATION TRIBUNAL SYSTEM, ESTABLISHED BY THE 1972 CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION ACT, REPRESENTS THE COUNTRY'S FIRST EXPERIMENT WITH A SYSTEM OUTSIDE OF THE COURTS DESIGNED TO DEAL WITH APPLICATIONS FOR COMPENSATION FOR PERSONAL INJURIES CAUSED BY CRIMINAL ACTS. THE ACT'S DEFINITION OF INJURY AS 'ACTUAL BODILY HARM' HAS BEEN SUBJECT TO CONSIDERABLE DISCUSSION, PARTICULARLY WITH REGARD TO ITS APPLICATION TO CASES INVOLVING PREGENCY, MENTAL OR NERVOUS SHOCK, OR DAMAGE TO ARTIFICIAL HEALTH AIDS. CRIMINAL ACTS ARE DEFINED AS OFFENSES PUNISHABLE BY IMPRISONMENT AND COMMITTED WITHIN THE STATE OF VICTORIA. COMPENSATIONS MAY BE AWARDED TO THE VICTIM; A PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OR HER MAINTENANCE; OR, IN CASE OF THE VICTIM'S DEATH, TO DEPENDENTS OR TO PERSONS WHO HAVE INCURRED EXPENSES AS A RESULT OF THE DEATH. APPLICATIONS MUST BE MADE WITHIN 1 YEAR AFTER THE INJURY OR DEATH, AND THE LOSS MUST EQUAL OR EXCEED $50. THE SCHEME HAS CERTAIN WEAKNESSES. THE FACT THAT IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO HAVE A CRIMINAL CONVICTION, A PROSECUTION, OR EVEN AN OFFENDER BEFORE A COURT TO MAKE A CLAIM MAKES THE PROGRAM OPEN TO ABUSE AND SOMEONE WHO HAS INJURED HIMSELF AS A RESULT OF HIS DRUNKENNESS COULD BRING A CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION ON THE GROUNDS THAT HE WAS A VICTIM OF CRIMINAL ASSAULT. NO JURISPRUDENCE OF VICTIMOLOGY HAS EMERGED TO INDICATE WHAT APPROACH THE TRIBUNAL SHOULD TAKE TO VICTIM CONTRIBUTION. ANOTHER WEAKNESS IS THAT NO COMPENSATION CAN BE MADE IF THE VICTIM WAS LIVING WITH THE OFFENDER AT THE TIME OF THE INJURY. ALTHOUGH VICTIMS CAN APPEAL REFUSALS OF COMPENSATION, SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS HAVE NO FURTHER RECOURSE IF THEY ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH THE AMOUNT OF COMPENSATION AWARDED. DATA REGARDING WORKLOAD DURING THE FIRST 4 YEARS OF OPERATION OF THE TRIBUNAL ARE TABULATED. AN ANALYSIS IS GIVEN OF THE AWARDS MADE OVER THE 4 YEARS. ALTHOUGH THE SCHEME HAS MANY PROBLEMS, IT IS VIEWED AS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AND IS EXPECTED TO STIMULATE COMPARATIVE STUDIES OF SIMILAR CRIME COMPENSATION SCHEMES. (MGB)
Index Term(s): Australia; Legislation; Victim compensation; Victim-witness legislation
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